Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
This documentary was shot at a three-day celebration of poetry (a "Poets' Festival") at the beach of Castelporziano near Rome in the summer of 1979. Pier Paolo Pasolini was killed on this beach a few years earlier and his murder is commented on by Evgeny Yetushenko at the beginning of the documentary. On the first day of the event, the camera focuses on both poets and audience, and reveals a striking reality: the audience is not only indifferent, it is increasingly antagonistic, and when one of the least-liked of the minor poets is booed off the stage, he flashes the audience in response. As the day wears on, objects go flying through the air, catcalls abound, and the self-styled poets seem to be taking their life in their hands when they get up in front of the microphone. Back at the hotel where they are staying, Allen Ginsberg, Le Roi Jones, Yevtushenko and others discuss whether or not to go on with the planned third day. Meanwhile, as the camera pans across nearby beaches and out into the harbor, there is obviously no one around who realizes that this international event is taking place right next to them. Have the poets lost their touch in communicating with the world at large -- or has the world become a place that is inhospitable to poets of any range of ability? The documentary raises these issues and lets the viewers formulate their own, individual opinions.